Many people who are thinking about taking up the sport of surfing ask the question: is surfing safe? The answer is not so simple and depends on a wide range of factors.
The short response is “Of course! What do you mean, is surfing safe? Millions surf all over the world with no problem save for the occasional drowning or ultra rare shark attack.”
Actually, how safe it is depends on things like location, surf conditions, skills, equipment and education. Some things can make surfing pretty dangerous: big waves, choppy water, surfing alone at night in shark infested waters… you get the picture.
There are surf spots that range from beginner to advanced to pro and kamikaze. It’s the same with hiking. I can hike through a gentle meadow on a mild spring day or I can explore canyons in Death Valley California. One option won’t even cause me to break a sweat, while the other may result in the sawing off of my own arm with a pocketknife. Yet both are hiking.
From an opinion piece on redbull.com:
Brain damage. Now that’s something you don’t hear about in surfing. But snowboarding, skiing, flipping snowmobiles for kicks, moto x or BMX? There’s an epidemic of athletes being killed or losing their most vital functions.
Good points. The author goes on to claim that surfing is the safest of the “games”, meaning extreme sports or adventure sports.
We should also draw the line between normal, mainstream surfing and the gonzo, bordering on the suicidal sport of big wave surfing, which is included in Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Dangerous Sports. Fortunately, even big wave surfers have now started to adopt more safety measures.
So is surfing safe? Yes, it’s reasonably safe if you follow these helpful guidelines on ocean safety regarding waves, weather, currents, landscape, etc.
Have fun and surf safe!